"With the formation of the first ASU Center entirely devoted to biomimicry,
"Starting as an ASU assistant professor just a decade ago,
The new CMDB becomes the 12th research center at
"Now, with this center, there is a golden opportunity to expand ASU's research in molecular design and biomimicry," said Yan, who holds the inaugural Milton Glick Distinguished Professor of Chemistry and Biochemistry. "I am thankful to President Crow and ASU's leadership for the opportunity to implement the vision of this new center and develop a world-class biomimicry effort to benefit ASU, the state and ultimately society."
Imitation of Life
In nature's role as Earth's master architect, an almost 4 billion-year trial-and-error process has refined all of our planet's living organisms, functions and materials. Scientists have long looked at nature as inspiration for answers to both complex and simple problems throughout our existence, from
To date, Yan's research approach has focused on using DNA, an essential building block of all life forms, as the architectural underpinnings of a biomimicry approach to advanced nanotechnology with the ultimate goal of building a suite of dynamic nanoscale devices.
Yan is a well-recognized leader in his field, known as structural DNA nanotechnology, or DNA origami, that can fold and self-assemble DNA into a broad range of technological applications important for human health and bio-electronic sensing devices. In addition to his research team's scientific achievements that have graced the covers of leading research journals such as Science and Nature, honors for Yan include a
Yan's inspiration behind the new Biomimicry Center is to move beyond DNA nanotechnology and develop innovative technologies that may spark a 'bottom up' nanotechnology industry to develop novel solutions in medicine, energy and electronics. Such a field could spawn the growth of entirely new 21st century industries.
"I have always been very interested in designer architecture," said Yan. "Every architect needs a set of design rules. In nanotechnology, we need a set of rules that will allow anyone in the field to be able to design an engineered biochemical pathway using a bottom-up approach, where we use the biochemical building blocks of a cell as our building blocks to make new discoveries."
From bio-inspiration to innovation
Yan's research team has built a variety of 2-D and 3-D structures at a scale 1,000 times smaller than a human hair, and now, he wants to push their efforts to build even smaller, and design at the scale of individual atoms, molecules and chemical bonds, which he has dubbed "Angstrom level control."
Support for the establishment of CMBD includes federal funding and funds from
Major CMBD research thrusts include developing faculty labs devoted to all aspects of the biomimetic innovation cycle, including:
* Design - employing computational methods to design, model and predict molecular behavior
* Synthesis - making the building blocks and molecular "Lego" sets
* Assembly - assembling building blocks into structures
* Programming - thinking of biomimetic systems like the transistors, circuits and logic found in microprocessors and computer hardware
* Biomimetic materials and systems engineering - integrating biomimetic materials with man-made systems to optimize functionality
"Our initiative will ultimately distinguish itself significantly from the majority of other biomimicry efforts around the world, where scientists develop biomimetic materials by identifying, adapting and modifying existing biological components for subsequent integration with man-made materials," said Yan. "Our vision is to design intelligent materials and processes, and a suite of smart molecules that can self-assemble into materials or function in biological networks to deliver drugs, control chemical reactions or build molecular scale electronics, as well as for tissue engineering, biosensors and renewable fuels."
TNS 30TagarumaMar-131015-4518019 30TagarumaMar
Most Popular Stories
- Bipartisan Budget Deal Gets Key Support in House
- Bitcoin Clones Lurch Onto Financial Scene
- Clinton to Keynote Annual Simmons Leadership Conference
- Futures Fall, Holiday Spending and Unemployment Up
- Budget Deal Will Cut 220,000 Californians Out of Jobless Benefits
- Senate Not So Keen on Budget Deal
- Oil Nears $98 a Barrel
- PhD Project Grooms Business Profs
- Selena Gomez, Shakira Among Top Hispanic Searches
- GM to Stop Making Autos in Australia